I'm a Construction Project Manager for HITT Contracting in VA. and have 3

projects ongoing in the Pentagon. Our company has a Term Contract w/ the

Pentagon and has numerous people running different projects in the building

all the time. At 9:00am Tuesday I watched the World Trade Center news

coverage in our on-site trailers but had to leave for a 9:30 meeting in the

Pentagon. While the meeting was starting up (1 wedge away from the actual

point of impact) all were concerned about what was going on in NYC & I

started feeling uneasy about being in the Pentagon. Suddenly we all heard a

faint boom and a shake of the building. We all went silent and stared at

each other waiting to see if anything else was going to happen. Nothing did,

we weren't sure what had just happened. We all knew it very well could have

been a bomb somewhere in the building, but, being very close to the loading

bays, it could have been a forklift or truck backing into something and our

imaginations were just running wild. Then all of a sudden the Fire Alarm

Speaker made a crackling noise and someone tried to make an announcement but

the speaker went dead. Then someone burst into the room and said to evacuate

immediately. We still weren't sure what to make of it because we've gone

through premature evacuations before in the last few months. But as we

walked down the exit corridor, guards were talking about things they heard -

a bomb?, a plane?, a fire? perhaps at the loading dock? We were heading for

the loading dock! One of the female guards was crying hysterically, with

others trying to comfort her. Then as I exited the building, still nothing

unusual could be seen. then as we walked away from the building, one by one

people got far enough away to look back over their shoulders above the roof

to see thick black smoke pouring from the building. The slight wind made it

seem to come up from the entire building. As soon I saw that I was

horrified. I seemed like the whole building could have been bombed. Then the

parking/loading area we were in was sealed off and we weren't allowed to

leave the area which was right up against the north side of the building.

Nobody's cell phones were working and nobody including the guards knew what

was going on. After about 15 minutes someone we know came up to the locked

fence from the outside and said he saw the plane crash right into the

building. Rumors started spreading fast as I walked around the crowd I

heard: car bombs were exploding in the other parking lots (not true),

another building downtown was just bombed (not true), there were flames

coming from the WHITE HOUSE (NOT TRUE), and the scariest, there is another

hijacked plane circling Dulles and they think it might be the 2nd headed for

the Pentagon just like the 2 that hit the WTC (also not true). These were

enough to make a few of us not care too much about what the rent-a-cops had

to say about staying put, we grabbed a ladder put it up to the 10' wall and

climbed over. As I ran across Boundary Channel drive back to our Trailers,

someone sitting outside their car told me that the WTC#1 just collapsed, I

couldn't believe it. I was still watching the sky more than I was where I

was going, scanning for other incoming planes. By now there were fire

trucks, police cars, ambulances and helicopters all over the place and even

a fighter plane circling right over my head. I remember feeling for the

first time what it was like to actually be in the middle of a war zone and

instantly felt tremendous sorrow for the millions of unfortunate people in

the world that have that fear every day. I checked in w/ the Trailer, all

our men were accounted for. The guards were now ordering us to evac the

trailer and they didn't need to tell me twice. I drove home listen to the

radio in disbelief, my hands still shaking.

 

David M. Rubando

PSU '96 - Structural Design & Const. Engineering Tech.

HITT Contracting Inc.

703-846-9114 v

703-846-9110 f

drubando@hitt-gc.com